POET: The Online Preference Elicitation Tool

James Royalty, Robert Holland, Judy Goldsmith, and Alex Dekhtyar

If the goal of eliciting accurate user preferences over a complex value space is to be realized, the elicitation process must be through while at the same time not overly burdensome to the user. An ideal preference elicitation tool would maximize the information about preferences acquired from the user while minimizing the number of queries required. To this end, we present POET: the Online Preference Elicitation Tool. POET is a graphical Java applet designed to elicit complex preference structures to form a utility function. Once the elicitation process is complete POET outputs the resulting utility function as an XML document. Internally, POET represents utility for independent and dependent values as a set of dependency trees. Though POET’s output and internal representation involves real numbers, from the user’s point-of view, the experience is completely symbolic.

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